Have you ever walked through your lawn and noticed a slight orange or reddish-brown tinge across patches of your grass that look like rust? Crazy as it sounds, it might actually have been rust. Not the same kind you'd find on your metal patio furniture, or your car, of course. But one that can be just as destructive. Rust is a fairly common lawn disease caused by fungus. It usually shows up from mid-summer through late fall, once the growth of your grass has slowed. But rust can also appear any time your turf is under stress, like after extended dry periods. Rust spores are tiny and very light weight. They can be carried long distances by the wind, which means that even the best kept lawns can be infected. Usually, grasses with a fine texture and deep color, like perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass, are the most likely victims of rust lawn disease.
Rust usually takes hold in shaded areas first, during warm, humid weather. Any grass that remains wet for long periods of time, because of too much watering, lingering dew or poor drainage, could find itself rusting away. The fungi symptoms of this lawn disease begin as tiny yellow spots on the grass blades. These spots become elongated and eventually rupture into clusters of rust-orange spores that give the disease its name. When touched, the powdery, dust-like rust spores leave a color a lot like the fine particles of rust from metal.
Rust that is not treated can quickly thin and destroy good turf, and it is especially dangerous to new seed. Once rust is established, a balanced, nitrogen-rich fertilizer works better than lawn disease controls for treating the condition. By mowing more frequently, at a higher mower height, you can also help to remove the rust spores before they spread to other leaves.
As with most lawn diseases, eliminating the conditions that cause rust is the best lawn treatment. Your lawn service professionals at Spring-Green want to make sure your grass remains healthy and beautiful this season. By working together, we can develop a maintenance lawn service plan to keep your lawn as disease-free as possible.
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